Less than a decade ago, the internet was something used by businesses to send information to each other, and people to browse cat pictures. Now it is used to send data, browse cat pictures and conduct a number of important activities like banking, tax returns, and shopping. Let's look at the importance of data storage in our business and personal life.
But by moving so many day-to-day operations online, businesses and individuals alike need a way to store increasing volumes of digital data. And more importantly still, that storage needs to be fast and failsafe.
The importance of speed
The progress of technology makes it hard to predict the future, but there is one certainty – the amount of data that everyone needs to store will only ever increase. And as you have more data stored, there will be more to trawl through when you need to find a specific document or photograph.
The fastest data access speeds are available with Solid State Drives (SSDs). The problem is SSDs cost a lot more than traditional ‘spinning disks’, which offer far higher capacities at much lower prices. To help provide a performance boost and keep costs low, it is possible to connect several spinning disks in a RAID array.
RAID arrays use all of the drives at once to read and write data more quickly, and to provide some protection in case one of the disks burns out or fails. In a single drive system, a failure could result in significant data loss.
The importance of data safety
Probably more important, at least from a legal standpoint, is data security. Protecting information from loss can prevent heartbreak and court cases depending on whether you are a consumer or a business.
How often do home users print out photos these days? Almost never. But a hard drive failure could wipe out a lifetime’s worth of memories in seconds.
For businesses, the problem is even more acute. Losing data is the same as throwing a computer out the window – you lose one of your most important assets in the process. You could also be at risk of prosecution by a local data protection commissioner – in the UK loss of personal data carries a fine of up to £500,000 for instance.
Choosing a reliable storage solution
As we said, RAID arrays provide a cost-effective way to improve data protection by providing a built-in protection system should one drive fail. Home or business users should choose RAID-based systems for precisely this reason.
However even RAID arrays can fail, placing data in danger. You will need a secondary backup system in place using external disks (spinning disks are perfect) to take a copy of your data that can be taken out of your office or home for additional protection.
And if you already have a RAID array that has failed, fear not. Despite the complexity of disk striping technologies and the risk of permanent loss of files, you can ask specialist companies to recover your RAID data. RAID recovery is a complex procedure, but it is a lot cheaper and less painful than losing your baby’s photos, or the company accounts.